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ADVENTURES

Sunday, October 31, 1999

WHAT EXACTLY IS WRONG WITH SPACE?

Is it just me, or is the Planet Earth covered with scaredy cats?

It's also covered with way too many of them and thanks to global warming and rapidly advancing medicine, our population will go from being an "oh really?" kind of topic to an "oh crap!" kind of topic.

Think about it, the human population is constantly growing.

Granted, people die every day - even every minute - but even when people die every minute, that's not fast enough for the planet Earth's sake. Not only are humans, as a race, using up more resources (food and fuel) but thanks to global warning, we'll be using up the LAND a lot faster in the coming century as well.

As I mentioned, medicine is making leaps forward and I think it's safe to suggest that by the end of the new century, many of us will be around to see it. So, what will the world look like in 100 years?

Less land, less food, less fuel, more people.

Hm, you THINK we should think about, oh, I don't know - LEAVING THE PLANET EARTH SOMETIME SOON?!?!

Did you know that the Space Shuttle Endeavour cost NASA $1.7 billion? Now, we should look at the richest man on the planet. His name is Bill Gates. This is the man who is said to have immense vision - yet even he doesn't realize that with his worth of over $70 billion, he could build the first vacation spots in space and STILL have over HALF HIS FORTUNE LEFT OVER. He could have five space shuttles built, and then fund his own space station. Hell - he could claim Mars for himself. But does he?

No.

Why?

Cuz he's a friggin' idiot. I've heard that computer industry people ponder a thirty second elevator ride with Bill Gates the way average folks ponder winning the lottery. They fantasize about what software package they would pitch to him - or perhaps they would simply ask him for his autograph. I, on the other hand, would ask him why he hasn't done anything about space. I mean, it's not like he'd be all poor if he built a space station and nobody went. I'd sure go though - assuming it wasn't run by Windows 1998.

"Would you like to disconnect from you air supply?" It would no doubt ask as it is right now asking me if I'd like to disconnect from my internet connection despite that I have been researching on the web just now for this here essay. But I digress.

Why not space? Why are we sending machines up there when it's plain to even big, dumb morons that a HUMAN up there would be MUCH more valuable. See, that's the real problem with people these days. We don't want to do anything for ourselves. We make machines do everything for us. Why should space travel be any different?

Well, did Lewis and Clark let a horse explore the untamed west by itself?

No. Of course not. So why should we let a glamorized desktop computer fly to Mars only to realize too late that the guys at the Jet Propultion Labs forgot to switch to metric? Let's go. Let's go now.

THE BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR

[asin: B000066744]
Think millennium fever has gone too far?

Check this movie out - it has almost NOTHING to do with the millennium. And what little it does have to do with the millennium is only observed by people drawing the connection in their minds.

ANYWAY, here's the deal: The Legend of 1900 is easily the BEST movie of the year. Directed by the same guy who directed Cinema Paradisio, The Legend of 1900 follows a trumpet player's attempts to reach his best friend named 1900.

The trumpet player, Max Tuney, played VERY well by Pruitt Taylor Vince (the stilt killer on that X-Files episode a couple years back), tells the people he bumps into of the adventures he and 1900 would have playing music on board the Virginian, a cruise ship that 1900 was born on, raised and had never left.

This movie has almost everything Cinema Paradisio had - magic, love, tragedy, humor, joy, a great script a great story and GREAT performances by Vince and Tim Roth who plays 1900 with an amazing level of innocent adventurousness. The movie, in short, is quite brilliant. See it and you'll be glad you did.

I GOT YER FREE STAMPS!!

Here's how it went:

I got the setup program from Pitney Bowes' web site and tried to install it, mostly because I wanted to get the free $25 in postage the company promises to the people who beta test their new internet postage stamp printing software (it allows you to print stamps right off of your printer). THIS is where the simplicity ended.

Sure, it SOUNDED simple enough, but what happened was not worth the free twenty five bucks in postage, I'll tell ya that much for free! Anyway, so I go to install the setup application. It starts out fine but then halfway through, my machine locks up. Now, I know the instructions said I need to shut down every other application I have running in order to properly install the postage program, but EVERY setup program tells you to do that and I never do, so why should THIS application be any different?

So, I turn off the machine and wait 30 seconds (because hitting control-alt-delete didn't work) and then turn the machine back on. I try installing again and everything seems fine. I enter all my info, including my credit card number for when I run out of the first (free) $25 in postage. A LOT of sites ask for your credit card info whether they need it or not these days and if you don't like it, don't do it. But, since I was used to it, I gave out the number. I was pretty sure if they wanted to keep doing business with me, they wouldn't dare mess with my card.

So, now it was time to download the free $25 in postage from the Pitney Blows - I mean Pitney Bowes web site and start printing postage right from my printer. Right? Almost. So I tell the app(lication) to connect with the Pitney Bowes web site and half way through the process I get an error message. It seems as though there was some problem connecting.

Hm.

Well, let's try it again.

Same problem. Damn.

Well, one more time.

NOPE! Still no clean connection.

I try it one more time and finally I get through and my postage printing program is ready to go. Where's the catch you ask? I'm glad you asked.

Two days later, I get this odd call on my answering machine at home. It's a guy from Pitney Bowes wanting to talk to me about the beta testing, but alas, I got the message too late in the day - they've closed already. I'll just call them on Monday.

SATURDAY MORNING AT 9:30 AM, I get a call - I let my machine get it. It's someone else from Spitney Bowes - I mean Pitney Blows - I mean - Pitney Bowes only this time she wants me to make sure that I download their postage app because there are a limited number of slots available for beta testers. But... I already downloaded the app TWO DAYS AGO.

A few hours later, I am doing a routine checking of my finances by visiting wellsfargo.com when I discover Pitney "ha-ha, we've got the sap's credit card now!" Bowes has charged my $25 FOUR TIMES.

That's $100 they have charged me WITHOUT MY AUTHORIZATION.

I almost want to call the cops - I mean, it IS theft. Just because you give the neighbors a key to your home doesn't give them permission to come in and take whatever they want, right? Well, I tried to call them on Sunday only to discover that they're not open on weekends. WELL THEN HOW THE HELL DID SOMEONE CALL ME BEFORE 10AM ON A FRIGGING SATURDAY?!?

Here's a tip - just say NO to Pitney Bowes.

Sunday, October 17, 1999

CARS ARE THE REAL DANGER

Almost everyday in the news we hear about things that kill people - drugs, guns, violence on TV, etc. One thing that gets attention as a killer is the car accident. But no one really thinks about how DANGEROUS cars really are.

EVERY NIGHT here in LA you can hear about no fewer than six car accidents on the news. Drunk driving, hit-and-run and plain old reckless driving are all common culprits here in Los Angeles as they are around the world. It's to the point that I don't even like to drive if I don't have to.

I used to LOVE driving. But every morning on the way to work I hear about the latest SLEW of people who crashed their cars that morning. Two car pile-up on the 10 freeway, or a three car, fatal accident on the 405. God - that could be any one of you or me, or someone else we care about and yet, we go out their on the roads every day, fearlessly (stupidly) taking our lives into our own hands - no worse - into each OTHERS' hands.

Do YOU trust the guy in the next car over from you to NOT be an incompetent moron?

I don't.

PRAISE MASS TRANSIT! USE THE SUBWAY. Oh and don't get me started on the fact that smog sends 53,000 people to the hospital each summer in the United States alone.

CLASSIC TREK CGI'ED??? WHY?!?

As you may know from the rest of the web site, I, ThePete, used to be a big Star Trek fan. I still am a fan of the Classic episodes as well as many of the Next Generation episodes, too. But when I heard that they were using computers to redo the special effects on an episode or two of the Classic Trek, I was tentative about it, at best. But, a friend of mine mentioned that there was a site that had some of the images online from the new footage, I decided that it was worth a look.

Now, you may be wondering why I am not posting a link to there site, so you can take a look for yourself. Well, I must say that the computer effects so GREATLY changed certain things that I feel that I should not help advertise the site built by the people who feel that reinventing something to make it new and fun is a good thing to do.

The images I saw were from the Classic Trek episode entitled "The Doomsday Machine". You may remember it as the episode that features a giant planet eating rock-worm that goes around gobbling up just about anything in it's path. Now, the original looked like it was carved out of rock. It had three segments, as though it's tail telescoped out of it's body. It had a very cool, (and yes, a bit cheap) look. It wasn't all that scary, but boy did it look ALIEN. MAN did it look like NOTHING like anything a HUMAN made.

Now, we look at the "new" images of the new Doomsday Machine is sleak and smooth edged. It's no longer segmented or even rocky looking. It's grey and looks more like VERY man-made - in fact, it looks an awful lot like part of the Enterprise that Picard captained. Just slap a saucer section on top and some warp nacelles on the side and BOOM - it's the Enterprise D. How lame is THAT? I mean - why "remake" the damn thing if you're going to CHANGE everything so DRASTICALLY, it's UNRECOGNIZABLE???

Why not just do a whole new show? Stop recycling the old crap and MAKE NEW STUFF THAT'S GOOD!! Ugh - I swore off of most Trek almost two years ago - this isn't making me want to go back at ALL.

EVOLUTION NOT SCHOOL-WORTHY?

Yep - apparently, it's not - apparently in Kentucky they feel that the theory of evolution should not be taught in schools.

They feel it conflicts with the teachings of the lord. What is THAT??

Since WHEN does teaching a theory conflict with what some people believe as fact?

IT'S A THEORY YOU MORONS!!

Good GOD - I cannot believe this is actually happening someplace in America! This is a case of pure misinformation. They play it as though this theory is not a major concept - it may not be the truth, but it IS a reasonable theory - JUST as the Christian explanation is (to some people).

Removing the theory of evolution from the curriculum only acknowledges that the state of Kentucky believes this theory is a threat to their concept of truth. If their concept is the truth - then why be afraid of some theory?

Why?

Simple - what if the Christians all start believing that the theory of evolution is in fact the truth? Well, then, if that makes them happy to believe a new truth, shouldn't that be okay? It's just a chance the Christians should have to take - I mean, isn't Christianity at least in part about resisting temptation? Then again, I guess it's easier to resist temptation if you're not exposed to it.

Sunday, October 10, 1999

MY HUMBLE APOLOGIES

I would like to humbly apologize to visitors of this site. Things have been pretty hectic over the past couple of months (try SIX months). Between my two jobs, my writing and life in general, I have been JUST BARELY able to keep the regular site updates coming, but last week, this much didn't even happen.

The comic strips were late, the new Bitch Page didn't show up until four days after it should have and then there were all of the general things I still hadn't gotten to after the switch from Spinninghead.com to ThePete.com - but now, I have updated most of the site. Things are back up and running. This includes EVERYTHING here at the Bitch Page. The Bitch List is back up - you can now sign up for it here or simply send an email to bitch@thepete.com either way, you'll be able to whine, moan and bitch to your heart's content, 24-7!! Also, the BitchCards work again!! Now you can send rude, yet strangely sweet web cards to friends or enemies on the internet!

I've also added some new downloadables to the Bitch Fun Page - want to play classic arcade games on your PC? Click here to find out more! And for next week I hope to bring the Ventilation Page to my server for faster service. Well, I realize this hasn't been much of a jibe - I just wanted to apologize for not getting as much done as I thought I'd be able to.

I'M SO ASHAMED!!!

But not ashamed enough to NOT plug the rest of the site too! Please click on the spinning head at the top of this page to explore all the new things here at thepete.com!! (New comic strip home pages, a new guestbook format with a new feedback section and here's the best bit - go download your very own ThePete.com brand screensaver - new from ThePeteWare right now at TheMall at ThePete.com!! WOOHOO!)

WHO TOLD HARLIN HE HAD ABILITY, TALENT, OR A RIGHT TO HAVE A CAREER?

Fox just ordered a half-hour pilot from Deep Blue Sea, Long Kiss Goodnight" and Cutthroat Island director Renny Harlin, called "T.R.A.X." which stands for Trace, Research, Analyze and Exterminate.

It's a show about a special branch of the police that traces, researches, analyzes and exterminates the supernatural, the occult and the etc. Gee, Renny Harlin does the X-Files - what is Fox thinking???

Just fire Chris Carter and hire Harlin. Not that he would make a decent show - I mean, I'd sooner give a pilot order to Glen A. Larson and HE created Knight Rider for crying out loud!! Harlin has made some of the worst movies EVER!

AM I the only one who has noticed this???

MARS - NOW, WATER-FREE!

Well, NOW NASA is saying that there was NEVER any water on Mars.

First they said there used to be water on Mars, thanks to the appearance of of channels that look as though they were made by flowing water - there were even things that looked like coastlines.

But NOW they're saying that what were coastlines are nothing of the sort.

NOW they say that the coastlines were probably not caused by water at all.

I have a question for NASA. Why don't we just send a GUY up there to LOOK at these features with his own EYES. That way, we wouldn't have to worry about camera resolution or arguing scientists, we could just have an expert ACTUALLY GO UP TO MARS AND LOOK FOR HIM OR HERSELF. I think a REAL HUMAN UP THERE IN PERSON might settle any debate, don't you?

Wednesday, October 6, 1999

INFOMERCIALS - MY ASS!

Don DuPre is evil.

He's not Satan or anything, but he IS a major demon. You may have seen this guy on late night cable. He's the one who encourages you to make lots of money placing ads in newspapers around the country. Never mind the fact that he never says exactly what you'll be advertising in these ads and never mind the fact that he circles around exactly how you are supposed to make money with his plan, it's the enthusiasm in which he enlightens you that is truly sinister.

He's mesmerizing, this guy. He just talks and talks and manages to say very little about exactly what you're dropping your cash for. Here's a warning - if you see this dude chatting it up on the tube - keep on surfing - if it's late enough and you're tired enough, you just might fall for his line.

Be afraid... be VERY afraid...

IT'S NOT THAT AMERICAN BEAUTY IS BRILLIANT...

It's not that American Beauty is brilliant, but compared to the regular dreck that Hollywood churns out, let's just say that it is NOT a film to miss.

So, go see it if you're over 17 and witness a good script, great performances a cute teenage blonde topless and Kevin Spacey masturbating in the shower.

Oh yeah and Warren Beatty's wife cries, open-mouthed in a close-up. YEESH! But don't let that discourage you - check it out!

HEY AT&T - BITE ME!

Recently, my girlfriend noticed a few new charges on our phone bill.

I took a look at it and discovered that there were two new charges - one for $4.35 and another for $1.35. AT&T was kind enough to include an 800 number to call, should we actually want to know what we were being charged for - now, this 800 number was not the standard customer service line, this was an 800 number specifically designed for these two new charges.

Now, first I'll tell you about the cheaper charge. It seems as though the FCC has demanded that all long distance companies pony up a small amount of money to help pay for poor people to have phone service and internet access. It also seems that AT&T can't be charitable on their own, so they pass that donation on to their customers - now, it may not seem that $1.35 is that much money, but I was never asked or even consulted on this new charge - I frankly don't care about poor people getting a phone line anymore than they care about me having one. Why can't AT&T deal with this on their own? Why try to pass the cost on to us quietly with only an 800 number on the bill?

Because they are immoral bastards - that's why.

If that's not enough for you, let's explore that fun $4.35 charge. This is even better. It turns out that local phone companies across the country are charging LD Companies more to provide the services LD Companies provide. Does AT&T eat this cost? NO. WE do. The customers. Whatever happened to "The customer comes first?"

If I could survive without a long distance service, I would sever all contact with them, but alas, they are the best LD company in America.